Senior guard Marques WIlson dribbles the ball. Lehigh men's basketball fell to Lafayette 71-70 on Feb. 28. (Courtesy of Justin Lafleur)

Despite late comeback, Lehigh men’s basketball falls short to Lafayette

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Lehigh men’s basketball suffered a heartbreaking 71-70 loss to Lafayette Sunday night at Stabler Arena in the last-regular season game.

A Marques Wilson three-pointer gave Lehigh a 70-69 lead with 2:10 left but missed foul shots, and a turnover by Lehigh gave Lafayette an opportunity with 19 seconds left, and they converted off of a Justin Jaworski bank shot. The Mountain Hawks had three chances at the end but fell short.

It was also Senior Night for Lehigh’s lone senior, Marques Wilson. Wilson was honored before tip-off with a video from his parents and head coach Brett Reed.

“Marques (Wilson) has stuck with it through ups and downs,” Reed said. “He’s tried to bring the best of himself in just about all of his situations. He’s modeled learning and growing, and I think it’s a great testament to the type of character that he is.”

Lafayette opened up the scoring with a 4-0 run, but junior center Nic Lynch mirrored that with two quick buckets.

The majority of the first half was a back and forth battle, with eight lead changes, but Lafayette’s hot shooting and close contested defense started to stretch the lead. The Leopards converted seven three-pointers and shot 63.6 percent from beyond the arc, while the Mountain Hawks made five while shooting 38. 5 percent.

A pair of E.J Stephens gave Lehigh a 41-29 lead, which was their largest lead of the game, but sophomore Evan Taylor ended the half with two key three-pointers to cut the deficit to six.

The Leopards started to stretch the lead again in the second half, but the Mountain Hawks played their game and stayed grounded, outscoring Lafayette 35-30 in the second half.

Evan Taylor gave this team some nice momentum, converting a three to take the lead by one, to spark a comeback, but they fell just short.

Freshman Ben Li led Lehigh with 13 points, followed by Taylor, who had 12. Lafayette’s Kyle Jenkins led both teams with 16 points.

With today’s loss, Lehigh is now the No.10 seed going into the Patriot League Tournament. The Mountain Hawks will head to Boston University on March.3.

“The Patriot League Tournament provides motivation for anybody who wants to compete,” Reed said. “It’s an opportunity, and we have that, and it’s up to us to seize it.”

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